KATH doctors lay down tools; GMA justifies decision

The Ghana Medical Association has backed the decision of doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to withdraw their services, saying the action is “justified” due to the unsafe situation there.

General Secretary of the GMA Dr. Frank Serebour, told Joy FM’s Top Story Friday that the doctors cannot be forced to resume work until their safety is guaranteed by management and the regional security council.

Doctors at the hospital withdrew all services with immediate effect on Friday following an emergency meeting in the afternoon.

The action, Joy News, gathered was to protest the attack on some nurses and doctors there yesterday by a mob that had besieged the hospital demanding the body of a baby reported dead at birth.

Several of the doctors fled the hospital as the mob attempted to lynch them. Many of the medical officers were reportedly assaulted.

The mob attack had been fuelled by suspicion that some nurses and doctors at the hospital have conspired to steal the baby.

The Health Ministry is yet to release an investigative report into the alleged baby theft.

According to Dr. Serebour, prior to the attack, there were some pronouncements on radio to that effect, but the authorities failed to take notice and allowed the mob to attack the health workers.

He said some of the disgruntled youth have even threatened to come back to “at least kill 10 of the doctors to pacify themselves.”

Dr Serebour said this is an indication that the “doctors security are not guaranteed”.

If the security at the hospitals have become unsafe, then there is no need working there, the General Secretary of the GMA said.

He emphasized that “the doctors are justified in being afraid for their life”.

Though management of the hospital has assured the doctors of adequate security, Dr Serebour said the situation on ground does not support what the management claimed.

He argued that entry points at the facility are porous allowing all sorts of people to enter the facility with anything they want.

He said the doctors cannot work under such situation – “tension, stress and threat”.

The security situation at the various health centres “is becoming unbecoming”, he remarked.

The GMA had earlier stated in a statement that, “These physical attacks on the doctors and other health personnel in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi as well as the Nkawie District Hospital both in the Ashanti Region as happened on Thursday, 13th February, 2014 can only be described as barbaric and uncivilized.”

It noted: “The GMA will like to state clearly that, if adequate steps are not taken by Administrators of various hospitals in the country to guarantee the security of its members, it will have no option than to direct all doctors to stay away from the hospitals in the quest to safe guard their lives.”

It is therefore calling on the police to ensure that these “unscrupulous individuals” who attacked various facilities are prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others who will want to behave in such an “irresponsible” manner in future.

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